Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22
Execute! The word execute describes the translation of ideas into action. For a business, the ability to execute is critical to the bottom line. In spiritual matters, we execute when we “put feet on our faith.” James exhorts believers to execute. “Faith without works is dead.” His words can make us squirm.
James calls us to dig deep. Do we really believe our beliefs or do we merely hold an intellectual assent to the faith? Prayerfully reflect on James 1:22-25:
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and. after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it–not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it–they will be blessed in what they do.
Does James tread dangerously close to a works-based theology.? Apparently, the Reformation champion, Martin Luther thought so. He called it an “epistle of straw,” and thought it shouldn’t even be included in the New Testament. I disagree.
James has been one of my strongest “faith-builders.” He puts me hard places that grow my trust in God. Do I truly believe that Christ’s death and resurrection covered my sin? Do I live in a way that gives evidence that I am grounded in that Grace? Have I found practical ways to execute the commands and calling God has placed in my heart?
I’ve heard that mother eagles are attentive and nurturing. Yet their method for teaching their young ones to fly is a swift push out of the nest! Yikes! They swoop down and catch them as they falter, repeating the flight lesson again and again until the little ones are soaring like….eagles. Like a mama eagle, James sometimes pushes me out of my cozy nest of faith with a call to action. My heart beats fast. I hear the Holy Spirit’s whisper. I step out…take a risk…and find that my faith takes wings. My trust grows big, and I’m soaring like an eagle.